Whether you’ve been considering getting bees for years or just now getting interested, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. What do you need and how much does it cost? When should you prepare and where do you get all the things? That’s what we’re going to talk about here today…
There are several things you need to get BEFORE getting your actual bees.
The 3 things you need to start beekeeping
Protective gear is going to come in a few different general variations:
1: Simple veil– This is going to be something that only covers your entire head/face and neck.
2: Jacket and veil– This is going to be the veil plus a jacket. A jacket will have long sleeves and an elastic waist to cinch around your waist to help keep any bees from crawling up inside your veil.
3: Full suit– This is going to cover everything from head to ankle. You will need to figure out some appropriate footwear like boots or something that the pants of the suit will go over.
4: Gloves– Gloves are optional. I pretty much never wear gloves but there are days that I wish I had them. I recommend gloves with a goat leather, as it is softer and helps to maintain your dexterity, with long cuffs to go up to or over the elbows.
Tools of the Trade
There are many tools of the trade but I’m only going to list what you absolutely need.
1: Smoker– Don’t get a cheap smoker, they suck and you will regret it. A decent smoker is one that breathes well and is quality made for the tough job that you need it for.
2: Hive tool– There are many variations of the hive tool. You never know which one you really like or prefer until you use it. But the important thing is that you get one…actually you should get two or three. For some reason hive tools are easy to lose.
There’s a ton of different hive equipment and again, I’m only going to recommend the basics that you absolutely need.
Assuming that you’re going with a Langstroth style hive rather than any other style, here are the components that you will need:
1: Bottom board– it doesn’t matter if it’s screened or not…that’s a personal choice. But you need a bottom board because that’s what everything else is going to sit on as the foundation of the hive.
2: Hive bodies + frames– there are several sizes of hive bodies. The common names for these are: Deep hive bodies, Illinois (also called mediums and honey supers), and shallows (also called peewees).
The frame sizes correspond to their appropriate box sizes. For example, deep hive bodies use deep frames, etc.
3: Hive cover– the lid that goes on the top keeps the elements out and the bees in.
There are many variations of beekeeping gear, tools and equipment. Try your best not to let this overwhelm you. Just remember the basics and if you want to research the differences between thing then do it.
After you have all of these things in place then you are technically ready for bees.
The best possible thing you could ever get for yourself in beekeeping is a Mentor. And remember, every beekeeper is going to have their own personal recommendations of preferences. They are also going to swear by them as the only right things to use and the only right way to use them. You’ll just have to ignore that as you figure out your own beekeeping style.
Comment below if you have any questions or need some clarification.
Until next time remember,
~Weeds are Wildflowers, Let them Bee!~
Jonathan Hargus/A beekeeper